The History of Penny Squares and Other Redwork Embroidery

Outline Redwork Embroidery embroidery occupies by hand an significant role in the past of quilting. It was use in block, most often penny square, which were piece of print muslin that sold for a penny each. Contour embroidery motifs span many styles and themes, and many of these ancient patterns are still available to quilters today. In recent years, vintage rugs have been a primary source of contour embroidery for patchwork projects. fashion style and trends

Redwork Embroidery Victorian technique

While the Redwork Embroidery it is century old, it had its great success as a quilt decoration in the 1870s and 1880s when it was use to decorate Crazy Quilts. Made in a color with a stem or outline, it was faster and lighter than another Victorian technique call Kensington embroidery, which was realistically fill and shade.


Although floral, bird and animal patterns were popular in the 19th century. Children’s drawings by English artist Kate Greenaway were dominant. Dressed in costumes from the early 19th century, Greenaway’s characters began to appear in the 1860s and adorned all sorts of objects. Even after his last book was publish in 1900. There were many similar children’s Redwork Embroidery patterns, such as those in Butterick’s 1889 needles – Craft Manual, recently republished by RL Shep. In the 1890s, contour embroidery was spread from bedspread and duvet to pillow case. So ubiquitous were the Sleeping Boy Goodnight / Good Morning motifs that a mass retailer. Such as Montgomery Ward. Sold pair of cases stamped with these designs in their 1894-1895 catalog.

Ward also offered stamping kits with up to 75 patterns, including a complete alphabet. The set had white powder for dark fabrics and blue for light fabrics. The pattern was pierce with a gear, or the piercing could be make on a sewing machine with a threadless needle. The powder was then rub through the hole on the fabric. Montgomery Ward also sold Redwork Embroidery thread in many colors, but in 1900 turkey red was the most popular shade for embroidering contours on pillowcases and duvets.

Redwork embroidered duvets

Some women marked or stamped their own drugs. They used commercially available patterns or outline drawings found in coloring books. A quilt from 1902. In the collection of the Museum of American Folk Art. Has coal buses depicting the United Mine Workers’ strike that year. Happy events also found their way into the redwork embroidered duvets; for example, the 1901 Pan-American Exhibition and St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. Redwork Embroidery continued beyond the 20th century. An old duvet, made of 16 large blocks, contained some Redwork Embroidery with the words “Declared War 1914” and “Armistice Signed 1918”. The date “1922” was embroidery on a monogram-crown crown.


Children, however, continue to be the favorite subject for Redwork Embroidery. Whether sew in red or other colors, children’s pattern were usually taken from illustration in book and magazine. In the early 1900s, for example, Bertha Corbett’s Sunbonnet Babies and Bernhardt Walls’ collection of boys started, where Kate Greenwayway’s patterns escaped and continued to adorn countless embroidered and applied quilts.

Redwork embroidery motifs

Dutch people youngsters’ designs embroidered in azure or red thread sickly-looking in admiration just beforehand the Primary Biosphere Conflict. Dolly Dingle and Billy Bumps, drawn by Grace Drayton, rose to fame as Campbell Soup Kids and as Redwork Embroidery themes. Rose O’Neill’s Kewpies provided stiff competition, especially in the 1920s.

Other important themes from the interwar period included huts, flower baskets and western themes, especially cowboys. President Roosevelt’s Scottish mascot, Fala, practically had a souvenir industry to himself. The puppy was use in many needle project. World War II produced embroidery motifs of cartoon-shaped sailors and soldiers and their girlfriends. Post-war cute Redwork Embroidery overweight French puppies, kittens, chickadees and chefs appeared, mainly on tablecloths, pillowcases and ruffles, tea towels instead of duvets. Although today’s duvets could create adorable creations based on these designs.

How Machines Make Embroidery Simple


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